Judging a Book By Its Cover

Filed Under (Activism, Autism and The Media, Critical Disability Studies) by Estee on 11-03-2009

When a friend alerted me to this book by Michael Allen, I Wish My Kids Had Cancer, I had to write this post. I have to say to Allen: are you kidding? Are the publishers of this book kidding? Where has all the human decency gone? If anything goes when selling a book, a remedy, a product, what does this say of us who permit it? How far does freedom go before crossing important boundaries that we just should not cross?

I can say that I’ve witnessed a few remarkably hypocritical things blowing around me the past few months that makes me question human dignity and grace, but this is ridiculous. No parent of any child, let alone special needs child should let such a book go on sale without outrage. To me, this title is no different than to suggest how horrible it would be to raise a black child in a racist world. To suggest that the child would be better off having cancer is just insane.

My mother has had cancer twice. Cancer runs in my family. I can tell you after early stage ovarian cancer last year, that the very thought of the worst (before my official diagnosis’ and surgeries which have now rendered me fine), made last year one of the most horrifying years of my life. The thought of becoming seriously ill or dying before your time when one has a child to raise is the most scary experience I’ve ever had. I’m sure it would absolutely be worse to watch my own child go through cancer.

Speak out. Speak now, or forever hold your peace. One does not compare having an autistic child to cancer. I don’t care how tough it is.

Tough it out.


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About Me


I’m a PhD candidate at York University, Critical Disability Studies, with a multi-disciplinary background in the arts as a curator and writer. I am the Founder of The Autism Acceptance Project (www.taaproject.com), and an enamoured mother of my only son who lives with the autism label. I like to write about our journey, critical issues regarding autism in the area of human rights, law, and social justice, as well as reflexive practices in (auto)ethnographic writing about autism.